CIA tape destruction offers cautionary tale for CIOs — Companies face big fines for not producing electronic evidence

December 10, 2007 (IDG News Service) — The recent revelation that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency destroyed videotapes of interrogations of two terrorist suspects may offer a timely reminder for CIOs at private companies in the U.S. tasked with electronic evidence preservation rules since last December.The e-discovery rules — amendments to U.S. courts’ Federal Rules of Civil Procedure — don’t apply to the CIA. But the agency’s decision to destroy videotapes showing harsh interrogation techniques may teach private companies how not to handle evidence, some e-discovery experts said.

The e-discovery rules require U.S. companies to keep electronic records when they’re faced with a civil lawsuit or the likelihood of a lawsuit. In effect, what this means is that companies should archive e-mail and other electronic records, said Ralph Harvey, CEO of Forensic & Compliance Systems Ltd., an e-mail archiving vendor based in Dublin.

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